About this Show

Tonight From Washington

News/Business. News.

NETWORK

DURATION
02:30:00

RATING

SCANNED IN
San Francisco, CA, USA

SOURCE
Comcast Cable

TUNER
Channel 17 (141 MHz)

VIDEO CODEC
mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
704

PIXEL HEIGHT
480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Us 34, Virginia 23, Va 21, Toomey 16, Pennsylvania 12, West Virginia 9, America 9, Manchin 7, Boston 6, Montana 6, Afghanistan 5, The Va 5, Haller 4, Kirk 4, Schumer 3, Washington D.c. 3, Atlanta 3, Pat Toomey 3, Washington 3, Pat 2,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  CSPAN    Tonight From Washington    News/Business. News.  

    April 15, 2013
    8:30 - 10:59pm EDT  

8:30pm
washington politicians can throw rocks at each other about various things on the fundamentals where on the same side and that includes people who worked for the government. they don't want to be abusive in their relationship with the american people any more than we want them the ability to. >> host: grover norquist, laura murphy americans civil liberties union and brandon sasso from the hill. this is "the communicators" on c-span.
8:31pm
>> over the last, certainly over the last four years i'm worried about this administration and that i think is part of a long-term trend as i outlined in the book. it's using more and more state power to impose a particular worldview, and worldview i call liberalism and we won't go into it definition of that so we are not using the term loosely but as a christian i am worried when the state hhs agency wants to mandate that catholic institutions have to pay for -- in their insurance programs and
8:32pm
i'm worried when the supreme court starts taking up things like marriage. marriage. i mourned that the things they see at universities. so i see more and are the state imposing a particular kind of agenda and it's really a worldview. it's bigger than politics. it's bigger than the republican and democrat. that's the worldview i'm investigating. federal reserve chairman ben bernanke highlighted low-income communities by community developments research in washington d.c.. his remarks are 20 minutes. [applause]
8:33pm
>> hi. i am very happy to be here and to join the eighth biannual grover served system community affairs research conference. the work you are doing here sharing research and exchanging ideas on how best to further the development of low income communities is vitally important. as this years thinking resilience predicts lowing companies were hard hit by the great recession. and while employment and housing show signs of improving or the nation as a whole conditions and lower income neighborhoods remain difficult by many measures. for example an analysis by federal reserve staffer feels housing units tend to be concentrated in a small number of neighborhoods attended have high unemployment rates, low educational levels and low monthly incomes. while some of these neighborhoods are in inner
8:34pm
cities, some are and suburbs. this analysis and others like it illustrate close interconnections of how educational levels and in employment experience within neighborhoods. moreover as this work confirms poverty is no longer primarily an urban phenomenon but has increasingly spread through suburban areas many of which lack the social community development services needed to mitigate poverty and its effects the implications of these trends for community we delve -- -- development are profound. strategies cannot focus narrowly on a single problem such as a fiscal sterry shin of neighborhoods that have suffered low rates of disclosure. multipronged approaches that address housing education jobs quality-of-life issues in a coherent and mutually consistent way. moreover strategies will have to be adapted to meet the special
8:35pm
circumstances of urban suburban and rural settings. as community development researchers and protection you are confronting the challenge attending to the needs of individuals and communities of people as well as places. community development has a long history of innovation and learning from experience. notably after decades of large-scale top-down federal efforts became increasingly apparent that a one-size-fits-all approach did not serve local communities well. the urban renewal programs of the 1950s and 1960s werber have the most prominent examples of well meaning but misguided efforts to revitalize decaying inner-city neighborhoods. the practice these policies often devastated neighborhood cohesion leaving their critics to argue for bottom-up solutions. perhaps the most influential critique in top-down and top-down planning list jane
8:36pm
jacobs 1961 book death and life of great american cities. in that book she celebrated the complexity and organic development of neighborhoods which intricate social networks enhance safety quality of life and economic opportunity. and jacobs you a police source is not as effective as a neighborhood filled with filled with public actors such as storekeepers doormen and interested neighbors acting a street watchers at all hours. the development of this community self monitoring is most likely to emerge he argued in neighborhoods where the rich mixture back to the sticking place and buildings of varying age character and use. for the most part social science research has indicated jacob's perspective. for example sociology, sociologists study community resiliencresilienc e in the wake of natural disasters.
8:37pm
they found not surprisingly the death rates were higher and rural areas where air conditioners were scarce. but they also noticed a remarkable difference in the fatality rate of two adjacent neighborhoods angle would and dashed on the chicago's upper south side. both were 99% african-american with with similar numbers of elderly residents in incomparably high rates of poverty and unemployment. englewood experienced 33 deaths per 100,000 residents during the heatwave while auburn gresham had among the lowest fertility rates in the city, three deaths per 100,000 citizens. researchers found key difference between auburn gresham and other neighborhoods lay in its physical and social topography of vitality of the sidewalk stores restaurants and community organizations and that brought friends and neighbors together making it easier for people to look out for each other. this example illustrates a point
8:38pm
that many community development practitioners have come to embrace. re-sign communities require more housing is important as that is requires an array of amenities that support the social fabric of the community and build the capabilities of community residents. the movement toward a holistic approach to community development has been long in the making front and the housing crisis is motivated further progress. to be sure and fomenting a holistic is easier said than done. government resources largely managed in silos and coordinating coordinating government agencies plan to be in the pipe sector meeting the local needs of communities requires extraordinary commitment and effective leadership. persistence and effort pay off. the holistic approach has the power to transform neighborhoods and as a result the lives of their lower income residents. let me give another example drawn from the experience of the east lake neighborhood in
8:39pm
atlanta a neighbor that exemplify the effects of concentrated poverty. in the early 1990s east lake at the crime rate 18 times higher than the national average. nearly 60% of adults received public assistance than 5% were able to meet his dad state academic reform and standards. the local philanthropist tom cousins wanted to improve the quality of life in his neighborhood by the concentrating its poverty. but he understood that east lake problems were interconnected. replacing substandard housing would do little to attract families to the neighborhood if it lacked good schools but schools couldn't perform while the students feared for their safety arrived hungry and rather wise and prepared or unable to learn. high dropout rates deterred neighborhoods high rates of unemployment and crime. to deal with the interconnectedness of the neighborhood's problems cousins determined to attack them simultaneously. he created the east lake foundation to facilitate
8:40pm
transformative change. the foundation partnered with the atlanta housing authority to replace the neighborhoods low income housing project with mixed income housing to accommodate the former tenants and other low low income residents as well as attracting new hire income families. an independently operated public charter schools kindergarten through 12 and an early learning center serving 135 children were built carried anew wednesday a center began to provide wellness centers and service a neighborhood gathering place. finally attracting commercial investments including a grocery store at bank ranch and restaurants. creating a navigating the complex array of interesting resources of the community to local government and the private sector to 10 years of effort. the character of the neighborhood was fundamentally changed. today crime and east lake is down by 73% and violent crime is
8:41pm
down by 90% -- 19%. the percentage of low-income adults employed decreased to 70% and charter school after his first year of operation to fourth place. the 74% of students receiving free and reduced price lunches troop performs at the same level as other schools have far more affluent areas. these educational outcomes alone argue for the wisdom of the holistic approach to community development. the success and east lake raises the question of whether a similar approach can work in other communities. in 2009 cousins launch the community element of a session called purpose built communities to try to obtain the same outcomes achieved in atlanta and other cities around the country. experience so far suggest while the framework can be replicated it requires certain neighborhood provisions to succeed these conditions include one housing
8:42pm
developments and concentrated poverty which can easily be replaced by good quality mixed income housing a sufficient scale to change the housing and income characteristics of the neighborhood. two the opportunity to create one or more schools accountable to parents in the community and three civic and business leadership to create the supporting organization charged with coordinating necessary partnerships and see through the long-term plans. as those involved in a separate now the purpose of the strategies are quite different from those that most of their bodies affect community development. for example city governments rarely organized around neighborhoods. school boards, housing authorities and transit systems all make decisions critical to the health of the neighbor but generally act independently of city government. moreover the goal of such bodies are not measured in terms of health of the neighborhoods in any holistic sense.
8:43pm
this mindset may be changing however. for example los angeles recently adopted a community-based approach to strategic planning. this five-year consolidated plan recognizes no single program or effort on its own is likely to lift families out of poverty or reduce crime in neighborhoods. rather the los angeles plan calls for an approach to quote will help the help the community by integrating community economic and housing development investments with transit opportunities to increase their positive impact on neighborhoods it also recognizes the need to build the institutional capacity so it can essentially coordinate these interests. to that end that maier created the housing and committed to develop and cabinet which is composed of representatives from city departments housing and transportation to health family services and economic development. the cabinet will be responsible for verifying neighborhoods to coordinate investment against
8:44pm
all sectors. perhaps one of the most promising partners and community development is the health care sector. factors such as educational attainment income access to healthy food and the safety of the neighborhood tend to correlate with individual health outcomes in that neighborhood. because these factors are linked to economic health as well as physical health health care professionals and community development organization is our senior opportunities for cooperation in low income communities. for example public health specialists and housing leaders are working together and said to reduce the incidence and low-income homes of allergies that can aggravate asthma. because asthma results in significasignifica nt significant loss of schooldays and billions of dollars in treatment costs it's easy to see these efforts have the potential to move not only health but also educational and economic outcomes. beyond complementary and just community development organizations help professionals offer an important set of skills and tools including unique
8:45pm
datasets and sophisticated evaluation techniques. for example using data from 38 children's hospitals that philadelphia research institute found an association between rates of foreclosure in poor health and children including the incidence of abuse. health-related philanthropies are investing in projects in low-income communities ranging from projects identified the health ramifications proposed and community improvements to increasing access to fresh food by creating partnerships to subsidize grocery stores in low income neighborhoods. these examples illustrate the benefits of broad-based collaboration for rejuvenating a community that in some cases have been in decline for decades. research is helping to sharpen this approach and give more insight into what works. for example in 2009 the federal reserve bank of boston researchers evaluated the effects of concentrated poverty in springfield massachusetts as part of a larger study conducted by the federal reserve.
8:46pm
intrigued by the results the boston researchers turn their attention to try to identify the factors that made it possible for some cities to adjust to changing economic conditions while others languished. to do this the researchers identified 25 midsize manufacturing cities around the country that were similar to springfield in 1960 when that city was at the height of its prosperity. they asked what accounted for the differences in the economic trajectories experienced by this group of cities over the past 50 years? remarkably their analysis indicated demographic makeup and geographic locations made less difference to success in the presence of community leaders and collaboration around a vision for the future. in some cases leadership came in -- with an energetic mayor cannot always been in fact the study found that can come from anywhere. the successful leader was simply the person or entity that recognized the importance of
8:47pm
preventing further deterioration in the local economy and agreed to take responsibility for the effort to turn things around. the leader help facilitate collaboration which was essential not only because economic development is complicated and multidimensional but also for them more mossadegh reasoned that outside funders would require that all interested stakeholders commit to a strategic direction. the specific avenues to recover. among their cities identified in the boston study. some built on traditional strengths while others created new businesses from scratch. for example grand rapids michigan once known for its furniture manufacturing work to become a major medical center partnering with michigan state university in grand valley state universities to form the research center. similarly as in jersey city has successfully transformed itself from a manufacturing-based economy to a financial center. its proximity to new york city makes this transformation seem obvious in hindsight but other
8:48pm
similarly situated cities have not made comparable strides. most of the cities in the study make significant investments in infrastructure and people to aid the transition to a knowledge-based economy. for example greensboro north carolina worked with in nearby the nearby cities of winston-salem and high point to build airport and replace its manufacturing economy based on high-tech research. in a common pattern greensboro with community colleges providing the force to enhance job skills and universities partnering with business is to develop innovative products and greensboro's case in nanotechnology and pharmaceuticals. in new haven connecticut local universities collaborated with private industry and local government to support biotech related education of public schools by providing teacher training assistance in curricular design and a mobile laboratory. of these examples show economic
8:49pm
recovery typically depends on a ability to draw its own critique or assets. leaders that recognized the potential of its assets and foster collaboration and exploiting them can help communities remake themselves. the question then becomes how to develop and encourage local leadership? technical assistance networking opportunities and mentoring programs are just some of the ways leadership can be locally fostered. based on its evaluation in springfield and cities of similar size but boston worked with philanthropic partners to enhance leadership and spur transformative change. the bank recently announced the working cities challenge the grand competition for the smaller cities in massachusetts designed to foster local collaboration to improve the economic health and well-being of lower-income residents. finish up winning grants are expected to demonstrate cross
8:50pm
vector collaboration and involve groups that work together. prize monies provided by cities the national philanthropic collaborative the commonwealth of massachusetts and the massachusetts competitive heart worship among others. the value of this competition goes beyond grant money though that will undoubtedly help those who receive it. the real value will encourage conversations among local stakeholders that are necessary to make real and lasting change. moreover participants will receive access to technical assistance in planning resources as well as to a growing network of public-private nonprofit philanthropic leaders in the state focused on improving the economy of the smaller cities. for practitioners and committed to development as in any field is joining a network of like-minded professionals is important for building skills and becoming aware of opportunities and resources. neighborworks america leading provider of community development training in the
8:51pm
country has provided management and leadership training for community developed professionals from more than 25 years. in the past few years neighborworks has developed leadership among network executive directors and board members. recognizing effective for leadership is key to the health and effectiveness of its more than 235 member organizations across the country neighborworks established achieving excellence program in 2002 for its executive directors and others in the organization with significant responsibility. this 18 month program offers professional coaching and opportunities to work with peers to solve the particular organizational challenge. neighborworks also trains community leaders through the community leaders sensitive. the institute has an annual event that attracts 800 resident leaders from across the country making it the largest residential development initiatives in the field. they arrive in teams of eight and choose from among 40
8:52pm
workshops on topics such as public speaking planning and mobilizing senior citizens. after four days the teams not only learn new skills but develop action plans addressing particular issues in their neighborhoods. they're given a 2000-dollar grant so they can return to their communities and meet legal patchwork. more than 13,000 or so gone to date and some cities have replicated the format to include local training for residents. these and similar programs not only train leaders that create networks and partnerships and the opportunity to learn from each other. community development is a complicated enterprise. neighborhoods and communities are complex organizations that will be resilient only if they are healthy along a number of interrelated dimensions much as the human body cannot be healthy without adequate air water rest in food. but substantial coordination and dedication are needed to break
8:53pm
through silos simultaneously improving housing connect residents to jobs and help ensure access to adequate natures and healthy air education and daycare. moreover each community has its own particular set of needs which depend on local resources. accordingly local leadership together with a vision of what a community can be is essential. with that in mind i want to thank all of you here today for the role you're playing playing and bringing her skills in research and analysis to the important work of rebuilding lower income communities. community development leaders have no shortage of commitment to their goals but with the insights that you provide together with the opportunities to learn the experiences of other communities they will be better prepared and thus more successful in making the difficult challenges they face. thank you for being here. [applause]
8:54pm
american express chairman and ceo kenneth chenault spoke about consumer positives in the economic recovery and his speech before the economic club of washington d.c.. see his/her marks and other events from the economic club of washington d.c. anytime on our inb site c-span.org. >> but i would saygs are the key things are number one i think the consumer has really demonstrated incredible wisdom in a challenging economic environment. the question for all of us is how long willho that last that e consumers held up relatively well. i think we alsoly see that in spending and the credit risk -- or formants which have substantially come down verall,
8:55pm
they're at close to historical lows. we're performing a50% better than the major bank card issuers. so i think that that demonstrates some view that the consumer health is pretty decent. consumer confidence held up pretty well. but, frankly, david, i've really been of the view not surprisingly that the economic recovery as i look at in the broad scale is going to be relatively slow. i don't have a great deal of confidence that there's going to be any turnaround in the near term. and i think what we've got to hope for is that it
8:56pm
>> over the last, certainly over the last four years of this administration part of a long-term trend as i've outlined in the book is using more and more state power to impose a particular worldview called liberalism and i will go into a definition of that so we are not using terms loosely but as a christian i am worried when the state hhs agency wants to mandate that catholic institutions and catholics have to pay for -- in their insurance programs and i am worried when the supreme court starts taking up things like marriage. i'm worried about the things
8:57pm
they see at the universities. so i see more and more the state imposing a particular kind of agenda and a worldview. this is bigger than politics. it's bigger than republican and democrat. that's the worldview i am investigating and worshiping the state. >> one of the questions i'm asked a lot is why did we do this? the shorter answer is the monitor is such a significant important to naval history around the world that they needed to be preserved and the story would be passed on to future generations. that's the short answer but the more complex answer is what mission does the monitor have
8:58pm
unfulfilled and what facilities like the mariners museum and the education and outreach efforts in the conservation efforts what those things are continuing to do today to help us understand our relationship with the sea and our maritime past? >> we are currently in what is called the clean lab where you expect a normal conservation lab. this is where final treatment for artifacts are carried out with chemical coating, constructing support mounts for objects, you know doing additional cleaning in a dry and stable environment. the ultimate goal is to put these into the gallery and be able to share as much of the story of how this operated and how it was made, what they were used for, the air historical account. we know the pump right in front of us up until the last moment was working hard to try to keep the ship from sinking but unfortunately when the water put
8:59pm
out the boilers the pump stopped moving. another thing to kind of consider is when the pump got here. it's valves were still in position at the last moment. >> i think of the crew of the mariner and the things they experienced in the struggles they made as they undertook to preserve it and how ironic it is that today 151 years later they are still serving the nation but in a very different way and ways that we could never imagine helping us understand marine conservation in understanding our past and helping us move forward and learn the lessons of the past.
9:00pm
.. the public safety protect act because that's what it does. it protects the safety of the public and our constitutional right to bear arms. since we introduced the bill there's been a lot of misinformation about the legislation, and today i want to set the record straight with hard fact about our proposal and what it will do and not do. i think people need to
9:01pm
understand how guns first get their life, through amer shall sale of some sort. and what we're talking about is not creating any new laws. we're creating about uniforming the laws we have. get of all we have on the book today, a federal firms licensed dealer. there's approximately 55,000 throughout the united states of america. so we all have one close to us or in our neighborhood. these are friends of mine. people i know. if you good to a lioned -- licensed dole dealer today and purchase a gun, you're required to do a background check, criminal background check, and you're basically checked to see if you are able to have a gun. that licensed dealer puts that record of the background check they did, and he or she only can keep it. it's against the law to form some type of registry so the
9:02pm
paranoia where people say someone will know where my guns are, that can't happen. in our bill we double-down to make sure that doesn't happen by making at it felony with 15 year imprisonment. so all that myth is gone. the second way you buy a gun is at a gun show. if you go to a gun show today, and that same dealer, licensed dealer, if you went to their store you go through the background check. if you go to the gun show, and you buy from the dealer there? you still go through the background check. but if he goes to the next table over, you can buy whatever you want and nothing is done. nobody is checking. that's what we're going to stop. today if you buy through the internet sales, if you buy a gun on theber internet and i want to -- i'm in west virginia, and i want to buy it from senator toomey in pennsylvania, and he has a gun for sale and i want to buy it. the law today for me to by enter
9:03pm
state, from west virginia to pennsylvania. mr. toomey would have to send that firearm to a licensed dealer in west virginia and i have to have a background check done before i can take possession of that. so we're not creating new law. all we're seeing is if you go to a gun show there will be background checks for all guns. if you buy on the internet there will be a background check where it's in state or out of state. this is basically a criminal and a mental background check. a criminal and a mental background check. and that criminal and mental brown check is you have to have been found guilty by a court that you are a criminal or found mentally insane by a court. that you should not be able to buy a gun. that's all. so all this talk is just falsehood. if you're a law-abiding gun
9:04pm
owner, a proud gun owner and like shooting and go hunting with your friends and family, we do not infringe on any individual transfer. so if it's not a commercial transaction, individual, someone said i heard that, in west virginia, usually your father or grandfather or uncle or somebody got you your first gun, and it guess through that. i have some people with a collection of guns hasn't down by their family and never budget a gun. you're still able to have that type of transaction. that's not interfered with. you can sell to your neighbor without any interference. you can put a note on your bullet bulletin board in your church and say have a gun i'd like to sell. no intervention. so if anybody says we're infringing on somebody's rights, we haven't. because in the bill we all worked on, it was a bill that clays include -- basically we looked at the gun culture in
9:05pm
america, who we are, and that's what we took into consideration. i, for one, as a gun owner and a person who enjoys hunting and shooting all of the things and camaraderie that brings, i feel very -- sometimes looked upon in an objectionable way because i enjoy that. i'm a law-abide citizen, and my second amendment right gives me that right and i want to make sure that's protected. but i also have a responsibility and that's what i want to make sure, and that responsibility to do the right thing and that's why we're here. if you're looking for ways to keep our citizens safe from mass violence, then shouldn't we look at the culture of mass violence? the culture of mass violence, i've gone around the schools in west virginia and talked to some of the students. talked tower young pages here. the bright excess best. and they probably have become
9:06pm
desensitized so what you and i would have done if we had seen in a movie or on television, and we depend have the internet back there. so i aif you're going to talk about banning somebody's weapon, a gun, hand me down, don't you think you ought to have people with expertise that tells you what the gun does. so we have this commission on mass violence that is part of this bill. and basically we're going to have people that have gun expertise, people that have mental illness expertise, i've gone to the schools and talked to teachers in kindergarten, first grade, second grade. they're saying, wait a minute. wait a minute. we have no help. we identify kids we know have challenges mentally. or they come from a home that is unstable. we have nothing we can do to help them. as a society we have a responsibility, i believe. so we're going to have that
9:07pm
commission, this gun expertise, mental illness expertise. how about school safety expertise? we have a situation, the hoe risk situation in newtown. that gentleman got in that school not because he had a key or because the door was unlocked. he got in that school because he was able to shoot the glass out of the front door and stick his arm in and hit the safety bar and let himself in. i've been a governor. for six years in the state of west virginia. we built a lot of schools and remodeled a lot of schools. not one time, mr. president, not one time did an architect come to me and say, governor, if we're going to build these schools, they fold about all the safety devices so you couldn't get into the school, and told be that the lockdown in each room so you had to have a safety code to get into a room. not one time was i ever told, we
9:08pm
should have bulletproof glass on every first floor window. not one time was that ever brought up to me. so, we need people that have school safety expertise. video violence. talk to the children. talk to the youth of today. if you haven't got on the internet lately and flipped to video violence, you should do it. it will amaze you. it will absolutely scare you, what you're seeing. the horrific, horrific things you all have been exposed to, which i can never imagine in my childhood. so don't you think we ought to have the people that are defenders of the first amendment come and talk to us about how we can change the culture of violence in our society? that's really what we're talking about. so, i have a lot of my colleagues, i've been hearing on different talk shows, about seeing they at any time like this or we should be doing this, and my in friend, senator pat toomey and i, are going to go
9:09pm
through the bill and explain to you what it does and doesn't do and how we can move the ball forward by keeping society safe, treating law-abiding gun owners with the respect they should have, and making sure that criminals or the mentally insane, that have been found to be so by court, cannot buy a gun. so, if you're a law-abiding gun owner, you'll like this bill, mr. president. if you're a believer in the second amendment right of americans to bear armed you're going to like this bill, mr. president. if you're a defender of the rights of the military veterans, you're definitely going like this bill, mr. president. if you are looking for ways to keep our citizens safe from mass violence, especially our precious children, you're going to like this bill, mr. president. mr. president, if you know somebody that is a criminal or if they've been declared mentally insane by the courts, they're not going to like this bill, mr. president.
9:10pm
and that's exactly what we have tried to do. i want to go through so many of this, but i want my friend, senator pat toomey, and i appreciate him so much. we have sister states, west virginia and pennsylvania. especially western pennsylvania. me and my family grew up in farmington and fairmont and northern west virginia. we had the same twang. so pat and i understand each other. but at this time i would like for senator toomey, if he would, explain the part that is so near and dear to him and me also. senator toomey. >> mr. president,. >> thank you, mr. president. >> i would like to begin by actually taking a moment to inform the members of this body and people who may be listen, of
9:11pm
you weren't aware, it appears that a tragedy has struck at the boston marathon. and bombs have gone off, and there are injuries that we know of, casualties, the severity of which we too not yet -- do not yet know. we hope and pray there are no fatilities. it's too soon to know that with certainty. i know my good friend from west virginia joins me in having our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and their families. very, very disturbing news we have just learned this afternoon. i can't tell you how much i appreciate senator from west virginia, the work we have done together. it has been challenging and constructive, and i think we have dom a very sensible
9:12pm
legislative product. something that i can be proud of. i want to thank senator kirk for the work he did in this, from way back. and senator schumer's contribution to this process as well. i'd like to start, if i could, with just some thoughts about the second amendment and what it means to me and why i think a proper understanding of this is so important in this discussion. sometimes it's useful to to the source, and so just as a reminder, not that we're not familiar with it, i'm going to read from my pocket version of the constitution. the second amendment to the constitution, which simply says a well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. now today, we often think that the second amendment is about sports men and hunting. that is an important part of it. but the second amendment is
9:13pm
actually much more profound than a protection for hunters. it's more fundamental, to our country and who we are as a people. in my view, the framers recognized in writing the second amendment, they were recognizing our natural rights. our natural law rights of self-defense and self-preservation, and in fact those rights precede the constitution. they were acknowledging and recognizing those rights in the constitution. they at any time create them. i would also suggest that the second amendment is about sovereignty. who is sovereign in this country? the government? the head of state in or the people? and i think also we know, this whole great experiment of ours that is america, is an exercise in recognizing that sovereignty of the individual people, and that sovereign people, of
9:14pm
course, ought to have he right to bear arms to protect themselves, and ultimately our founders intended the second amendment to be the means by which we would maintain our accomplish prevent tyranny. wele often take for granted in a democratic society in which we get to select our own government and our constitutionally protected rights are respected, but we all know that around the world, and in the recent past, there have been appalling cases where tyranny has destroyed the rights of relatively free peoples who in many ways have come from to- -- societies not terribly dissimilar to ours. so these are thoughts that come to me about the second amendment. i see it as very important part of our very identity as a nation and as a people. that's why it's very important
9:15pm
to me personally. in addition to being a gun owner and someone who is always respected these rights, it has a very important philosophical underpinning for me. for years we had many contentious debates and one debate we had about the second amendment for many, many years, was probably arose from the first phrase about the well-regulated militia, and the debate center centered around whether that right was a collective right that depends on one's membership in a militia, or an individual right belonging to individual people. now, it was always clear to me this is an individual right. clear to me for a variety of ropes, not the least of which is the founders never talked about collective rights. for them it was all about individual rights.
9:16pm
but farm our judicial system put an end to that question when a conservative majority of u.s. supreme court justices reached the haller decision in the district of columbia vs. haller. they made it very clear, this is nat collective right. this is not contingent on membership in a militia. the second amendment is an individual right that applies to individual americans, and agree. not too long after that in the mcdonald vs. city of chicago decision, the court went even further in upholding the haller decision and recognizing that, it affirmed that decision and went further and said this second amendment right is so important and so basic and so important, it's binding on states and local governments as well. so not only can the federal got not infringe upon second amendment rights but neither can a state or local government. so that's a pretty impressive
9:17pm
conclusion that our court has come to. in resolving the big part of this contentious debate. now i pose a question that the court has also addressed, and that is, is this a right that is enjoyed by all of the people of america? in my opinion, and i think this is not controversial, the answer to that question is, no. young children, are not expected to be afforded the same second amendment rights of adults. criminals, who have been convicted of crimes, have forgone many of their rights, including second amendment rights, and dangerously mentally ill people are people that we as a society have every right to protect ourselves from, and so they don't have the same second
9:18pm
amendment rights everyone else has. i would argue to our founders, this is a given. after all this is a time when capitol punishment was quite common and they fully accepted capital punishment. how preverse and absurd would the idea be that someone who was subject to capital punishment would be able to enjoy the second amendment right? it's obvious. criminals forego that right. the haller decision, recent supreme court decision i just referred to, addresses this as well. justice scalia on severed, and i quote, nothing in our opinion -- the heller point affirming the individual right office the seemed aberdeen. he says nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on long-standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. seems to me that is a very --
9:19pm
res explicit explain it's not an infringement on second amendment rights to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and mentally ill people. so if the founderes are in agreement on this and the supreme court is in agreement and we have laws in all 50 states that make it illegal for certain criminals and mentally ill people to have firearms, the question is, are we willing to take modest measures to try to achieve this goal that i think we all share. and that is clearly consistent with our constitution. that's what senator manchin and senator kirk and i are trying to do here today. what we're trying to do is make it a little bit more difficult for the people who aren't supposed to have firearms in the first place, to obtain them.
9:20pm
and i think senator manchin will agree with me there's no pan see ya here. there's no law that anyone could write, certainly not this one, that is ever going to guarantee that a determined criminal won't be able to obtain a weapon one way or another, or that maybe even a mentally ill person may not be able to obtain a weapon eventually if they're sufficiently determined. but can't we take a very modest step to make it more difficult? if we can do it in a way that does not infringe on the second amendment right office the law-abiding citizens that we want -- whose rights we want to defend. so, our bill -- i think of it as doing three broad things, and senator manchin and i will get to -- we'll walk through the specifics how we achieve this. i suggest one way to think about it is three categories. one, is we simply encourage greater compliance with the
9:21pm
background check system we have in place now we're not inventing a new one. we're not inventing new criteria for it. but the fact is, the participation in the background check system by the various states, if you rely on the states to provide information about the people who have been adjudicated as mentally dangerous, people who have been adjudicated as criminals and convicted, but -- we rely on the states to provide it, and what we do in this bill is create greater incentives for states to in fact participate in this, because the participation is -- varies dramatically. the second thing we do is we expand background checks to gun sales, at gun shows, and over the internet. again, this isn't a new system. we're just applying this background background --
9:22pm
background check to an existing system. and the third this we have a number of measures in the bill that frankly i think are overdue and enhance the opportunity for law-abiding citizens to exercise the second amendment rights they out to be able to recognize. so i think senator man chin but this very. we if you're a law-avoiding citizen who enjoys the second amendment rights you're going to living this bill. it's going to enhance your ability to exercise those rights you have. i you're a scrimmage you'd dish if you're a criminal and would like to get a bill illegal, you're not going to like this bill. and it will make it harder for someone who is mentally ill. i'm going to yield back to my friend, the senator from west virginia. before i do that, want to make just a one simple point about how tangible and how real and
9:23pm
how important this can be. this -- to this i'm referring to enhancing compliance with the background check system. we all remember the virginia tech shooting. and the tragedy here, one of the aspects of this tragedy, is that the shooter's ability to obtain a weapon might have been prevented. i say that because the young man, chu, had already been ajude dated to be mentally ill, dangerously so, by a virginia judge. they had discovered this. they figured this out. they knew that this was a very unstable and very dangerous man. but the state of virginia never passed the information on. and so there was no information about this man in the national background check system.
9:24pm
when who knows whatever demons possessed him to go out and obtain guns so that he could wreak the havoc he did, he went and submitted himself to a background check, and he passed with flying colors. because the system didn't have the data. but senator manchin -- one of the things we're proposing in this legislation is let's provide greater incentives and there's a carrot and a stick -- and a cost to states so they will be more in compliance. so i'll be clear. if virginia had provided this information to the system, then this shooter from virginia tech would have been denied that day, and we don't know what would happen haven't after that. it's possible he would have found in other way to obtain weapons, but think of all the other things that might have happened. if he had been deny at that moment and walked out of the store. who knows what else might have
9:25pm
intervened? whether he would have gotten help? whether he would have been stopped some other way. we'll never know that. but it seems to me that it's a good idea to try to put that block in place, and that is one of the things we would achieve. our legislation, i think, would go a long way, over time, to encouraging and in fact realizing a greater compliance on the part of the various states, and senator manchin may want to elaborate our we achieve that, and then i would continue in this discussion with him. >> mr. president. >> man from west virginia. >> mr. president, i come from a state, like most of the rural states in america, there's an awful lot of people who just live a -- there's a thing back home where you have either common sense, nonsense, now we
9:26pm
think you ought to have a little gun sense. and it just makes sense to think about what we're doing here by not infringing on anybody's rights but protecting those, and prohibiting those who shouldn't be able to have a firearm, through a commercial transaction. my good friend, senator toomey, was just talking about the second amendment rights, which all of us hold near and dear. you come from a gun culture state such as ours. with that being said, i just talked about common sense and gun sense. one of the largest progun organizations in the country, one of the largest, is citizens committee for the right to keep and bear arms, which is strictly for the right to protect the second amendment, have come out in total support of this legislation. total support. because you know why? they read the bill.
9:27pm
that's all we're asking. they read the bill. we have had a lot of our colleagues being told vert to goes. a lot of friends in different gun organizations been told a different thing, and all we have asked, senator toomey and i, take time and read it. we started out working this bill from so many different angles. everybody had a part of this. what we tried to do is find something that would make a difference. now, i want you to think about this. most every one of our colleagues have been visited by those unbelievable families from newtown. i can't even imagine -- i really can't -- still can't. i know you have probably seen the clips when i kind of lost control of my emotions there, but i just -- i'm a grandfather, a father, and i can only imagine what these families are going through. let me put you in that state of mind you. lose a little child in such a
9:28pm
tragic -- a child goes to school and you never expect that child not to come home from school. one of the safes, most sacred places you would have, but it happens. now, how would you feel? what state of mind would you be? let me tell you their states of mind to a t to a t, each one of the knewtown families i met says, we don't want to take anybody's guns away. we don't want to ban any weapons. we don't want to infringe on your second amendment right, and you know what they say? we really know, and realize, the bill you're working on right now would not have saved my beautiful little child. but what we're asking you to do is maybe save another family, just maybe prevent another family from going through what we went how to. now think about that. i wish i could be that strong.
9:29pm
i said if we in this body -- if 100 of us had one ounce of the courage those family members have, oh, my goodness, what a body we would have. if we weren't worried about all the outside pressure and maybe getting elected, maybe getting campaign funds that would take for us to get elected. if we worried about basically can we keep guns out of the -- in a commercial transaction -- from a criminal or a criminally insane person who has gone through a court and found to be unfit, just maybe we could save one life. someone says, why did you take this on? well, i don't know why else we were sent here, mr. president, and to try to make a difference. you know, the easiest vote i can make while i'm a senator is no. i can make no and vote no on
9:30pm
about everything, and be fine. i can go home and people won't -- why didout do that? i'm glad you voted that way. i don't like that either. you follow me? no is the safest vote as a congressperson or senator. i understand that. and it's wonderful, i guess to have a -- this is a great honor to be in this unbelievable body, with these truly magnificent people. i want to make a difference. i want to do something. and i think most of my colleagues. the only thing i'm asking my colleagues, who have been told something or heard something or they've gotten pressure phone calls and letters, is to read the bill. just -- it's only 49 pages. mr. president, when have we had michigan that could change the course of our country and it's only 49 pages long? i've seen bills with a thousand pages 500 pages, amendment is
9:31pm
300 pages. an entire bill is 49 pages. we're going to be on the floor for quite some time, my dear friends, senator toomey. tomorrow we'll probably be joined bit by our other good friends, senator cook and senator shoe merge everybody is coming together. senator shoemer has legislation who my friend says i cannot work with that, can i work with you? and we did that. and my dear friend mark kirk from illinois, been steadfast, rock solid, has been right there. this is bipartisan, and it really -- the bipartisan -- this is american. i don't want to say it's bipartisan. this is american. this is about, can we make a difference? can we change something? can you have people that basically are the most unselfish
9:32pm
, strongest, bravest people i ever met. the families of the newtown children, be able to come and say, listen, i want to protect the rights of law-abiding citizens. i want you to enjoy your gun. i want you to enjoy your hunting trip with your family. i want you to enjoy all the things the second amendment gives you. i also want you, if you can, protect another family. protect another child. protect another person in america. that's all we're trying to do. and as you look through the bill, there's so many different things we've talked about. i heard people say, oh, my goodness, they're going to start registering and they're going to get all of those records, all of those records to some big fancy commute that's going to know exactly where to come and get your gun, mr. president. not only does the law prohibit that today, this will, when we pass this bill, this law will
9:33pm
basically say, if any government agency intends to do that and abuse that record, that the law-abiding firearms dealer is supposed to keep and only them? it will not only be a felony, it's 15 years of imprisonment. that's why you might have these organizations that are basically joining in and now looking and reading the bill and saying, my goodness, that's really protecting the second amendment rights. so, it's an emotional bill, an emotional time in our country. but truly it's a time for us to come together. it truly is. there's a healing that must good -- must go on, and this bill will that healing, and we want to talk this and we'll go into this in detail, step by step, and i thank my good friend, senator pat toomey from
9:34pm
pennsylvania. >> senator from pennsylvania. >> i think it might be useful to just discuss some of the specifics, specific ways in which this legislation would enhance the compliance and participation on the part of our 50 states with this existing background check system. as senator manchin said, we both said, we're not creating a new system, not creating a new set of rules by which the system operates. what we're simply asking is, since states already have information about people who are criminals and people who are dangerously mentally ill, we want them to put that in the database so that we can discover it when someone goes and attempts to boy a firearm. by the way, i'll -- >> say also i might mention, if i may -- >> west virginia. >> we also talked and discussed that to put in incentives so someone can't say that's an
9:35pm
unfunded mandate. that is not an unfunded mandate. >> i also want to mention. one of the very typical categories of mental illness we want to capture are people who have been publicly ajude dated so. people who have pleaded not guilty to a crime by reason of insanity. that strikes me as pretty good definition of somebody who is mentally ill, or someone deemed not competent to stand trial by virtue of their mental deficiency. that would be another category. the idea here is we have a series of specific measures that would encourage greater compliance. there's a carrot and stick approach. we would authorize funding. they would have to win within the spending caps we agreed to. but we authorize funding for grants that states can use to carry out first of all an assetment of the extent to which they're currently in compliance or not. some states probably doing certainly all they can.
9:36pm
other starts are doing almost nothing in terms of providing this information they have to this database system, and they can start with an assessment of that. we would then ask them to submit a four-year plan by which they would develop full compliance, or as full as they can achieve in four years. they'd work this out with the attorney general, benchmarks along the way. and they would have a series of steps they would take by which they would start to turn over this information they already have about people who are criminals and people who are mentally ill. now, if a state refuses to develop such a plan or to achieve the benchmarks they set out in their own plan, then we would propose that they'd have a penalty and that i would lose some funding. that's the mechanism by which we have an inducement. incentive for states. they could lose up to 15% of the
9:37pm
burn-jag funding, funding that congress annually makes available to states for fighting crime. so, i think this is a sensible combination of measures to simply encourage states to participate as they should. now, if the gentleman from west virginia had anything more to say about the nics improvement piece of this, i would certainly yield. if not i want to mention a reason why i feel strongly about expanding the background checks, but mr. president, at this point i yield back to the president from west virginia. >> senator from west virginia. >> senator from pennsylvania, i appreciate that. i think what he said is spot on. what we're doing is basically preserves important background background checks, and transfers. you can loan your hunting
9:38pm
rifle -- people hear you can't loan a hunting rifle to your friend for family member. you can do that. we're not preventing that. whoever without restrictions. also in the current law, transfers win family, friend and neighbors, that's already done. that is not what we're talking about here. again, just common sense, and like i saying the senator and other colleagues, senator kirk and senator schumer, and we've been talk become and forth, and this is not a bill we just set down at senators. we have had people from all different walks of life, have input and we would do a little research to find out if that made sense, if that's been done, if an infringement has been done or a person has not been able to enjoy their rights as an american sunday, we did all that, and i appreciate the senator pointing out those and he'll continue and i'll be happy
9:39pm
to come back but this time i yield back to the senator from pennsylvania. >> senator from pennsylvania. >> mr. president, the last point i make about the improvement of the nic system, which is currently there are states which can adjudicate someone as mentally ill, for instance, but leave that person with very few options to challenge the status. that's the current situation. we remedy that. one of the things we require in this bill, this four-year plan we require the states to develop, has to include a program, a mechanism by which a person who feels they have been wrongly designated as someone who can't own a firearm by virtue of their criminal background, or their mental health, they would have an opportunity to challenge that, as they should. there ought to be a process they can go through to challenge that fining so that nobody who doesn't belong on this list, ends up on this list. let me move on to background
9:40pm
checks at gun shows. i'm going to introduce this by reading a letter that i received from a constituent, just yesterday. this happens to be a woman whom i know very well. known her for years. she is a conservative republican, a second amendment owner. she wrote: hello, pat. i just had to write after watching your leadership with this very difficult issue. i very much understand what you're doing with the gun show checks. and appreciate you're dealing with this. this issue is very personal to me, and if you'll indulge me,'ll tell you why. she goes on to say, i'm a very strong supporter of the second amendment, and i'm a gun owner my house. i do shoot. and my father very proudly passed down his recommendington
9:41pm
1100 to me several years before he passed away. he presented it to me with great pride, and i accepted it as very special moment between us. meanwhile, pat, i have an adopted daughter with emotional troubles her entire life. much of our journey with her has been difficult and continues to this day my daughter has been involuntarily committed twice and i unfortunately believe it won't be the last time, as she refuses to get proper treatment. i was the one who had to sign her paperwork the first time and it was made clear to me i would be taking away her right to own a gun. i knew that we had no choice but to -- but my hand shook and i had to pause a long time over the document because i so strongly believe in our second amendment rights. nevertheless i signed it and i would do it again today. at various times people have been concerned for our safety,
9:42pm
with the volatile nature of my daughter's problems. the idea that she would be able to purchase a weapon openly in a public venue is not acceptable. i don't believe she actually would. but i don't find any comfort in the fact she could have an avenue if she chose. i can't emphasize the importance of the second amendment to me enough. pat, i thank you for your efforts in d.c. and bless you for all you're doing. be well and be strong. i think that says a lot about what we're trying to accomplish here. here we have a passionate supporter of the second amendment, a gun owner, someone who has always been a believer in the second amendment, and for reasons that she has explained very personal, very important reasons, she doesn't want her daughter to be able to go into a gun show and buy a firearm
9:43pm
without so much as a background check. since the mom has authorized the recognition of her daughter's problems, if the information is provided and if that state complies -- in this case it's my state of pennsylvania -- complies with the background check system, then someone in the circumstances of her daughter, attempting to buy a weapon at a gun show, would be denied. and i think that is the outcome that we all want. it's certainly the outcome that her own mother wants, who loves honor dearly and loves the second amendment. at this time i'll be happy to yield back to the gentleman from west virginia. >> senator from west virginia. >> thank you, senator. i think we all have letters like senator toomey is receiving right now, and people looking for what we call gun sense, which goes right along with
9:44pm
common sense. there's so much out there about the bill and let me just reiterate a couple things the bill does not do. what the bill will not do. the bill will not in any way, shape or form infringe upon anyone reside second amendment right to keep and bear arms, and in fact it strengthens that, as senator toomey so eloquently described the bill will not take away anyone's guns. nobody's will have their guns taken away. the bill will not ban any type of a firearm. it's not in the bill. not banning anything. the bill will not ban or restrict any side of bullet or clip. the bill will not create a national registry, which we just spoke about. in fact it explicitly prohibits that, which we have given you the penalties of a penalty and 15-year sentence. we're asking our colleagues to come down and bring their questions, concerns, or what they believe and what they have
9:45pm
seen in talking to their constituents. i'm right now very pleased to have with me a constituent -- a colleague of mine from the big sky state of montana, who comes from gun culture, like myself and senator toomey. and i'm like too yield to the senator from montana at this time. >> i'd like to thank the senator from west virginia, thank the senator from pennsylvania. and i'd like to rise and talk about the toomey manchin amendment, nothing this is not an end-all when it comes to violence in america. we've got to do some things that resolve around mental health, mental illness, how we treat that, how we move forward in ways that make sense for folks that believe strongly in a second amendment but also believe in how we make our
9:46pm
communities safer. so whether it's the toomey-manchin amendment or some other amend that may come up during this debate or an amendment that deals with mental health and how we treat and it get professionals out there on the ground, this is a very important issue for folks in this country. second amendment is very important. now i'm going to give you a little background, which most of you know. i come from a farming background. my grandparents came to our farm a little over 100 years ago. when my folks took the place over my dad set up a custom butcher shop. for 20 years my wife and i ran that custom butcher shop. every morning, literally, i would get up and we would good knock down a beef or a pork with a gun. i literally spent a good portion of my living on a farm with a
9:47pm
gun. it was a tool. a way that kept us on the farm. a way that kept our farm economically viable. but you don't have to be a butcher to know the value of a gun in montana we have sports men andwoman literally start shooting at an early able and they know responsible gun ownership and irresponsible gun ownership when shape see that, too. mr. president, right now anybody can go out and buy a gun. in some states where the national instant background check isn't very good, literally anybody, whether they have a criminal record or history of violent mental illness, can go out and buy a gun. i think that what we're trying to do, what senators manchin and toomey are trying to do with this amendment, is trying to make the second amendment stronger for the people who are
9:48pm
law-abiding gun owners, but yet trying to keep guns out of the hands of folks who cannot have a weapon in a responsible way and have a record of that. a court-adjudicated record. so, as we move forward here and we talk about the things this bill does positively and negatively, i've readded forwards and backwards. i've talked to folks and i can tell you that this makes my second amendment rights stronger. and for that i want to thank you. here how it does it. my second amendment rights are only put at risk by people who use guns in an improper way. this bipartisan agreement makes sure that we protect that second amendment by responsible gun owners. and not just in a willy nilly
9:49pm
way. responsible gun owners that are clearly, clearly defined. what irresponsible gun ownership is. fixes the underlying bill that quite frankly i voted to move forward on but without this amendment i could not support. it does some positive things, like lets gun dealer sell firearms across statelines at gun shows. that's new. it improves the process by which someone can get their rights restored. this is a big one for me. we have veterans returning from iraq and afghanistan that -- and, by i the way, need treatment, can go get treatment. this bill does not impact them whatever sore. but on the other hand, if somebody has a serious problem, gets put on a list, got the ability through this law to be able to get off the list once they prove they can handle that
9:50pm
responsibly, that gun ownership. there's been a lot of talk about gun ridge industries. i don't think this bill prohibits it from the department of justice. the way the world is right now, i think it's fair to say nothing changes no gun registry now no gun registry after this amendment is passed. in fact, instructly prohibits it when -- strictly prohibits it when it comes to the department of justice. there are protections in here for vans, that makes sure veterans are treated fairly by the system. i serve on a veterans affairs commitey. montana has the second per capita number of veterans in the country, and it's important that especially -- although it's true in vietnam but especially with crosswalk -- with iraq and office, these folks get the treatment they need without impacting their second amendment rights and we're clear on that, does not impact enemy a negative way -- impact them in a negative
9:51pm
way. if you want to give a gun to your son our daughter or you want to sell it to your neighbor or friends, there's no background check required. active military can buy a gun in their home state or the station where they're at, and not just their duty station. allows for a concealed carry permit to be used in lieu of a background check. the bottom line is it doesn't impact my second amendment rights whatsoever. i was on the tractor this weekend, seeding a few peas and a little barley. on the radio came a show called tradio. if you have something to sell you put it on the radio, and one of the things that was being sold was a .208. rifle.
9:52pm
under this bill, if i put up a rifle on the radio, and patrick toomey says i want to buy that gun, he is a friend no background check. but if somebody i don't know calls, then we go down to the local store, do a quick background check which cakes -- i'll ask the senator front west virginia, what does a background check typically take on an individual? >> i would say more than 90% of the background checks in america are done in less than three minutes and probably no more than a minute and a half. so that range there. that tells you how quick they can we done. >> exactly. so, you zip down to the local gun store, whenever it might be in your town, and do the background check, and then you don't have to worry about if in
9:53pm
fact that person has a criminal past or is severely, violently mentally ill. it will be there. and there's also language in the bill that if a state is not putting information in the national instant criminal background check, money is pulled back, and the state of montana i believe it's about 10%. in the state of montana, that's serious dollars. that's well over $100,000 would pull back. would the center from west virginia like to talk about the thinking that went into that and how this could impact the background -- >> all the members that worked on the bill, senator tomorrow yes, senator kirk, all of us got together on that and there had to be basically one of the -- our largest gun organizations and we supported background checks ten or more years ago. just didn't work. they were right. so we said, fine.
9:54pm
do you though the baby out with the bathwater or change the water and make it better. so we went back and looked at and it said, fine. we didn't want any unfunded mandates so we put $100 million a year for now years for the states to have grants to get it up and rung the way they should be. so there's an incentive. we also said if you don't do your job you don't turn your records over, of adjudicated criminals or mental, then 10 thursday first year, 11%, and up to 13 and 15 and that's off your burn jag money, which every state depends on that money. and that's serious. and you know what? that concern came from the gun organizations right now, one of them who is not supporting it and should be. >> the bottom line is that i think this puts into effect real
9:55pm
incentives to keep this national instant criminal background check database up to snuff. there's also a condition on mass violence in this bill that i think is good policy, as we move forward, as we find almost on a daily basis some incident that -- something happens that is unacceptable. the bottom line here, and i know you guys have talk about this a lot during your presentation of the bill -- you talked about something called common sense. making sure that we do a background check and it actually is a background check. making sure that -- by the way, it will -- this bill will not solve off the violence problems in this country. not even close. but is it a step in the right direction while protecting my
9:56pm
seemed aberdeen rights? yes, it is. dot is take away my guns or stop my ability to buy any guns i can buy today? no, it does not. does it have any impact on things like assault rifles or big, large magazine clips? no, does not. what it does is this. once the national instant criminal background check database is up to snuff, it will prevent people who have a history of violence, who use guns improperly, it will prevent people who are violently mentally ill from being able to go out there and buy a gun. and i can tell you that if we're able to work together in a bipartisan way, as the senator from west virginia and the senator from pennsylvania have done, hopefully we can move forward with some issues that -- in policies that deal with mental health in this country,
9:57pm
an issue we have never dealt with well as a society 0, the stigma associated with it. if we can do that there are other amendments potentially we can put on this bill as we move forward, and the amendments have common sense backing and protects the second amendment, we should take a hard look at them and have a debate on those, too. the bottom line is this. i i want my second amendment rights protected. i want law-abiding citizens of the country to be able to go and continue to be able to purchase firearms. i want my kids to be able to do that, my grandkids, and i think this bill helps ensure that and i want to thank the sponsors for their hard work. i yield the floor to the senator from west virginia. >> on behalf of all of white house worked so hard, want to thank my good friend, senator tester from montana, he comes from the same culture i come
9:58pm
from, and i know how many chelsea he has received and how much pressure me is under, because of all of the misconceptions and untruths. but he did something we're asking all of our colleagues to do. he read the bill. he read the bill and found out for himself. this bill was exactly what we have been trying to do for a long time, and most importantly, protecting the innocent, and our children, by keeping the guns away from people that shouldn't have them. and not infringing on anybody's rights. he read the bill and that's all we've asked for. so at this time i'd like toeel back to my dear friend from pennsylvania. >> thank you, mr. president. the senator from west virginia makes a really -- i know it may seem very basic just to read the bill. this bill has been available online since thursday night. available now. it's available in every detail. at it available in summary form, any way people choose to look at
9:59pm
it. the citizens committee for the right to keep and bear arms, one of the pro second amendment groups that endorses this bill -- i'm just going to read briefly from their quote. if you read the amendment you can see all the advances for our cause. our cause meaning defense of the second amendment. ...
10:00pm
that's gun control. i disagree with it. i oppose. i oppose every such amendment that comes before the body. but trying to keep give ups out of the hands of people who aren't legally entitled to have them. dangerously criminal people or dangerously mentally ill people. that's not gun control. that's common sense. as i started off my comments, there's no dispute that's not an infringement on the second amendment. our supreme court gists don't believe. the law in fifty state don't maintain that. it's common sense. i want to point out another difference in the approach that senator machin and i have taken. others said make a universal background check and think about who to make an exception for and carve out narrow category.
10:01pm
one of the problems with that, in my view, you're not going to imagine every set of circumstances you have to curve out. we took a different approach. we said you know? private transactions generally. i'm not going to try to imagine every one. what we said is let's have background check on commercial transaction. that's with the volume of transactions are occur. that's where strangers are buying and selling guns from each other. that's why we require the background check at gun show and internet sales. automatic the private transaction wan family member, neighborhood, friends, colleague. if it doesn't happen at the gun show or internet isn't subject to the background check. we thought it would be an unnecessary burden on people who know each other. let me run through quickly some of the ways which the legislation strengthen the
10:02pm
ability of law-abiding citizens to exercise their second amendment right. i'll do it briefly. the senator from montana touched on some of these. i ought to start off underscoring something that the senator from west virginia mentioned earlier. not only will it droibt any national registry. it's forden. -- forbidden and anyone trying to create one would be subject to a flown felony -- that point number one. some of the problems we heard from the constituents who are gun enthuse yis we were able to address in the legislation one is to clarify internet state travel laws because sportsman traveling long distances happens too frequently. a sportsman from one state traveling to another. maybe on a hunting trip or going
10:03pm
home for christmas and wants to give a relative a gun. he's perfectly lawfully entitled to own the gun. he's following the rouge and regulation of the state. he pack the gun appropriately in the vehicle. as traveling through another state he discovers he's not in compliance with that other state. people have gotten themselves in to trouble. never done a thing to harm anybody. just traveling in to a senate has a different regime and didn't respect the regime of his state. we fix that by clarifying if transiting in the state and in compliance with the law of your own state, you're okay. we permit internet handgun sales from dealers. we provide, and this is important, the senator from montana mentioned this. a legal process for restoring veterans second amendment right. we have problem in this country right now for veterans that come back serving this country, risking their lives often
10:04pm
sustains injuries and go to the va and have a social worker decide they're not able to handle their personal financial matters. that puts them on the registry and disqualifies them from being able to have own a firearm. now i think that's outrage you, frankly this that's current law. that's happening every day to veterans. we deal with that. under our legislation, that just couldn't happen. before anybody at the va designate somebody that can't own a firearm. they have to inform the veteran thirty days in advance and give the veteran the opportunity challenge the status. that's only fair. we owe that to the men and women who have given so much to us. that's in our goal. we have a policy today the law
10:05pm
of the land forbids an active duty military person from buying a gun in his own state. i don't know whose idea it was. it doesn't make any sense to me. that's the law. we repeal that in this bill so that a man or woman serving in uniform in this country can buy a firearm in their home state. we allow a person who has a conceal carry permit to use the permit as a mechanism for which they are approved for a gun sale and it stands to reason the permit process a cum we cumbersome and onerous process. if you pasta, then -- pass that you should be fine. we have that built in here as well. i want to underscore, these are the reasons why two of the leading pro second amendments groups have endorsed the bill. it enhances the opportunity of
10:06pm
law-abiding citizens to exercise their second amendment rights. now, if you're a criminal or if you are a mentally unqualified to have a firearm you're not going like this bill. as said at the beginning i feel strongly. it's not gun droll keep guns out of hands of people who are not qualified to have them. so again, i want to thank the gentleman from west virginia, my friend. i appreciate the hard work you put in to this. i have another heating i'm heading to. i appreciate the chance to share these thoughts and work with you. we welcome any questions or comments or ideas or suggestions from our colleagues as we wrestle with this in the coming days. hopefully we'll be successful on the amendment. thank you, mr. mr. president. >> senator from west virginia? i think -- ilgd like to thank
10:07pm
senator toomey for being involved. we a discussion with the colleagues he's been talking and -- tested from montana and those of us who come from the state and we can maybe put some of the these myths aside, if you will. in a a allow the facts to come out. i think the most important thing for us talking today for a law has been we're not creating new law. we are improving old law. i think that's what we're saying here. my father used to say the only thing new in the world a pair of eyes. everything has been pretty much improved upon. that's what we're trying to do. we are improving on a system that needed to be improved. the veterans, we talked about the veterans as senator toomey
10:08pm
did. i didn't know how the extent veterans were treated when they come home. we're a war longer than twelve years and counting. hundreds and hundreds of thousand of men and women who put their lives on the line for us come back with challenges. if they've been acting by the war, they are almost afraid to get evaluated if evaluated and -- they can't be discriminated against. it's wrong. and they are found through a process and procedure not to be exeat tent. we have a 150,000 maybe never were notified of their rights. cher we're going make sure they have the process available to them. and this piece of legislation passes, every veteran coming back the court proceedings say wait a minute. i think your evaluation is wrong. you can't put them in a system.
10:09pm
they have to work the rest of their live to undo. i think that we owe that to our veterans of this great country. it comes down simply reading the bill and not making up things and listening to urbanization who may be using the fear tactdic as a campaign to raise funds and finance and money. i hate to say that. you know, i'm a proud member of organizations and they do an awful lot of good in informing and teach safety to young children. we do a lot of things. i had the benefit of growing up in a town that the people in the town the farm -- any father was not a big sportsman. my father wanted me to be involved. he worked a lot and didn't have time. these people took me under their wing and taught me to respect and use firearm safely and be
10:10pm
responsible. totally responsible for that. when i should not have a shell. when i should have it in my case. how i should carry if in the woods. how would i cross the fence. the gun should be -- they ingrained that in to me. they do it. remember when they put misinformation out. that's a disservice to the law-abiding gun owners and the people who respect the rights and that second amendment senator toomey eloquently gone in to and senator tester has spoken to also this is going to continue for some time. i'm understanding and senator toomey and i will be taking on this and joined by, i'm sure other colleagues and senator schumer, we're inviting all of our cheegs to come -- colleagues
10:11pm
to come down. if you have heard something from a constituent or from an organization, come down and talk to us about it. and we'll show you. it doesn't do that it says. the biggest thing we have is the regular concentration. it doesn't do that. we improve upon if. it doesn't take anybody's -- i think senator toomey talked about basically there's things he wouldn't vote for nor would have. they have a chance support for more gun support or oppose. what we're saying it's one piece of legislation we know will make a difference by keeping the guns out of hands those ajiewlt candidated through a courtroom or criminal. we know that the commercial
10:12pm
transaction and people have used different type of figure. how many guns are transforred at the gun show or online. we know with the expansion of intecialt there's going to be more and more. all we're saying that's the least personal of all the transaction of the internet. we're going to make sure that i might not know you, mr. president, but up in your beautiful state of maine, i see something you have that i would like to. i have the technology for the modern world to make contact and hopefully be able to purchase that. chi never had twenty years ago. but i'm going to make sure also that the gun is sent to a license dealer who depends on the lobby dueling and abiding by the law to make sure background check done on me before i can purchase or pick up that gun i bought from you. that only makes common sense. i heard a lot of things saying they could be charges.
10:13pm
a lot a fees involved. there's no way allowing the person doing the service for you to charge a fee. let me tell you as as by person, this is as a business person. every one of us in business especially retail we know exactly what the value every customer walks through a door. you might say they are just shopping. my grandfather said there's no such thing as a shopper. they are all buyers. they just don't know it yet. they going buy something. we walk through the store they have a value. if they have a value, you know what is going to happen? people are going to advertise please, let us do your background check free for you. that's a service we want to give you. we want you to make sure that the right person get it is. guess what? they might be buying something else. boots, camouflage gear, daughter or son a new outfit. that's marketing, that's
10:14pm
business. that's what it's all about. don't let the nay sayers say too much of a burden. trust me, the markets have a unique ability to correct themselves and take advantage of it. and a customer and a buyer not a shopper, you get those buyers coming through the door. we're going to sell them something. i know, that. so we're going be happy to talk about the bill here. we are going to invite -- we'll be coming to the floor. in the meantime, to all of my colleagues, to all of you out there that have been hearing all of the things and getting you excited that they're going to do something and take your guns away, or take your rights away or register. that is false. that is a bald face falsehood. and all we're saying is go online and read the bill. it's only 49 pages. we even broke it down for you. if you will do that, if your colleagues will do that and bring it to the floor so all
10:15pm
question ask for the facts will set you free. the facts will set you free, mr. president. and we believe we worked hard our staffs have worked exceedingly hard. i appreciate everyone and my good friend senator toomey and senator tester and senator chuck schumer from new york for working so hard to find a balance. it takes us from the right and left from both sides of the aisle republican and democrat all of us to work together as an american bill. it's not a bipartisan. it's for country our to keep our society safe and protect the right of law-abiding citizens and gun owners like myself and you, mr. president. with that, mr. president i yield the floor. coming up tonight on c-span2, a senate hearing on the 2014 veteran's affair department budget. then the house appropriations
10:16pm
committee exams the 2014dea budget ask. later panel discussions on the modern day civil rights movement from the national action networking annual conference. on the next washington democrat of arizona. he'll talk about the debate on immigration in the house and share his thought on a bipartisan senate bill scheduled to be released this week. then indiana congressman luke messer previews the upcoming budget deliberation prospect for gun control and legislation in the house. later steven emmerson the executive director of investigative project on terrorism. he discusses development following the bombing at boston marathon on monday. washington journal is live every morning at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span.
10:17pm
responsible for the report is made up of a bipartisan group of former members of congress, law school professors, and a former u.s. ambassador to the united nations. the press conference live at 9:00 a.m. eastern on c-span2. one of the questions i'm asked is why did we do this? i think the shorter answer is that the monitor is a significant ship wreck. so important not tonight national area but enable history around the world that needed to be preserved and the story passed on to future generations. that is the short answer. the more complex answer is what mission the monitor still has yet unfill filled. what facilities like the museum and the education of the outreach effort and the conservation effort once those are continuing to do today to help us understand our
10:18pm
relationship with maritime past. we are currently with a is -- expect the normal cobs elevation lab. this is where final treatment for art facts are carried out. it includes chemical codings, constructing support mounts for objects, you know, doing additional cleaning in a dry, stable environment. the ultimate goal is to really put these to the gearl and be able to share as much of the story as how these operated and made. what they were used for. historical counts from the sinking. we know that the pump in front of us was up until the last moment was working hard to keep the ship from sinking. unfortunately when the water put out the boiler, the pump stopped moving. it's the other things that consider when the pump got here. the valve were in position at
10:19pm
the last moment. the experience from the struggle they undertook to preserve the union. and how ironic it is that today 150 years later they are serving the nation in a different way inspect way in this case could never imagine. helping us look forward and learn from the lesson of the past. >> this weekend booktv and american history tv. look at the of literary life of virginia beach, virginia. including more from the mar mariner's museum. veterans affair secretary and other va officials testified monday before the senate committee on veteran's affairs. president obama has requested
10:20pm
$150.7 billion for the veteran's affair department in 2014. a 10.2 increase over 2013 funding level. the hearing is two hours. [inaudible conversations] a hearing on the way. i want to welcome everyone to the hearing on the fiscal year 2014 budget and the fiscal year of 2015 advanced appropriation request for the department of veterans affairs. earlier in year, i think we will recall we heard from nearly all the veteran surface organizations. these groups shared with us our priority which reflect the needs of the men and women who have served our country. i want to thank all of the
10:21pm
organizations not only for the important testimony but the great work they do every single day. protecting the interest of america's veterans. if there's anything that many of us have learned in recent years, it is that the real cost of war is far, far greater than simply paying for the tank and gun and plane and the manpower to fight those wars. inlt that we unmore fully than we have in the past that soldiers who come home from war are often very different people. we now understand that the cost of war includes significant care not only for those that lost their legs and arms and eye sight but those who came home with what we know call the invisible wounds of war. most recently it includes the
10:22pm
intense of thousand of brave soldiers returning from iraq and afghanistan with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. while this $1 15 billion budget we discuss today is a complicated document with a lot of numbers, a all comes down to how the people of our country through our government honor the commitment to those who sacrificed so much and to the spouses and children who have often also sack fiesed -- sacrificed. in their testimony discuss many of the important and positive things that the va does. and sometimes we overlook that let me talk about. term of health care in a nation with over 45 million people lacking any health insurance at
10:23pm
the time when the cost of health care in this country is far higher than any other country on earth the va is recognized by many as providing excellent quality health care in a cost effective way to those who have served our country. like every other health care organization, the va can do better and must do better. most will agree that the va has come a very long way in the last twenty to thirty years in terms of health care. terms of another important issue. homelessness at the time when too many americans and people of my own state of vermont are sleeping out on the street or in their cars, the va has taken and aggressive and successful effort to significantly reduce the number of homeless in our country. since 2009 there's been a 17% decline in veterans homelessness despite the tough economy.
10:24pm
that's good news. the bad news there was still more than 62,000 homeless veterans in january of 2012. the va must sustain the positive efforts in combating veteran homelessness, progress is being made. more must be done. for the world through the world class research program, the va is making significant advances in health care, not only for veterans but the entire country. that progress must continue. the vso while praising the va in many areas also highlighted the significant challenges and problems that continue to confront veterans of all generations. and i agree with many of their concerns. among many other issues they spoke of, the obligation to address the tragic number of servicemember and veteran suicides. this is a horrible tragedy.
10:25pm
it's a tough issue. we have to address it. further the need to accelerate the transformation of the compensation claim system in order to dale with the unacceptable long delays we are seeing and the huge backlog in cases of any issue veterans and the veteran's community is concerned about. it's that issue and i share that concern. while the va is processing far more claims than ever before. the miew.d to paperless and efficient system must be completed on schedule. i know, belle discussing that issue during this hearing. further responsibility to make smart investment in infrastructure and information technology systems to ensure that the va can continue to provide the care and benefits veterans have earned is a major issue. this means, and this, again, is a huge issue. which this committee will delve in to. a significant improvement in the
10:26pm
relationship between the va and department of defense. we may be dealing with two separate agencies. but we're dealing with one human being who goes through the dod in to the va. i believe that this year's budget request, especially within the overall budget restrains facing congress again reflects a strong commitment by this administration to providing veterans and their families with a care and benefits they deserve. this year's total budget ask is $15 12.7. -- -- this is a 10.12 increase over last year's enacted amount. while the va presented -- while the va budget presented by the administration is a strong one,
10:27pm
and i applaud the.for that. i remainly deeply disappointed that the white house included budget request the chained cpi. it would mean major cut in social security and the benefit of disabled veterans receive. veterans who started receiving va disability benefits at age 30, would have the benefit reduced by $14,025 at age 45, $23,041 at age 55 and all but $3,000 a year at age 65. tens of thousands of dollars within their lifetime. this, to my mind, is unconsciousble, and i will do all that i can to prevent these cuts from taking place. when if comes to the issue of funding for suicide prevention, the budget is literally a matter of life or death.
10:28pm
ensuring kindly access to high quality mental health care is critical for our veterans and their loved ones. that to that end i'm pleased to see the president's budget called for 7.2 increase in funding for mental health. at our last hearing when we discussed the issue of mental health and suicide, a doctor testified that the va on track to hire 1600 mental health commission called for the president eats executive order by the deadline of 1k3wr0u7bth. as i noted a that hearing, i main rather rather -- concerned that the va hired 47 clinician in the two months previous to the hearing. as i understand the va must ensure they are hiring high quality clinicians, but va must pick up the pace of hiring if it intends to meet the goal of 1600 new clinicians by the end of june of this year.
10:29pm
when hiring these cle initialses they must recognize that individual veterans respond differently to different treatments and not all respond well to traditional therapy. i spreesht senator bowsman at our last hearing raising the important issue of overmedication of veterans seeking mental health treatment. i share that concern as believe many americans do. i know many respond positively to alternative medicine. as the name indicates such treatment -- and yoga. can be provided in conjunction with traditional care or stand alone care. ..
10:30pm
completed compensation rating plane in 2012. the inability to provide compensation benefits in a timely manner tarnishes the reputation among the varied population it serves. i never want of negative experience with the claim system to prevent him or her from seeking mental health care or health and battling homelessness . mr. secretary, i see your testimony reiterates the goal of eliminating the claims backlog by 2015.
10:31pm
va has been working hard to transform this system. i think we can all agree that the va took too long to us start transforming itself from a paper base to the electronic system. clearly that effort should have begun a decade ago or longer and not just four years ago. yet, despite these facts, one must certainly understand how it is difficult for the average person to believe that we're making progress when we continue to seek the unacceptably long wait times faced by veterans and their survivors in obtaining benefits. that va must do a better job of showing not only the veterans and survivors on how the plan to accomplish their ambitious goals, and i look forward to working with you to establish benchmarks which will allow us to see the progress will lack of progress that the va is making in this badly important area.
10:32pm
the va must be able to construct in addition repair or release the infrastructure necessary to provide high-quality care that veterans deserve. for the fourth year in a row the president's request has been out of touch with the realities on the ground, adequate funding to contain the aging infrastructure must be a critical part of the discussion on providing quality health care. further, fiscal year 2014 budget request includes another 13 major medical facility leases, but does not include funding for the full cost of authorizing these leases despite the challenges congress is still working. this is an issue of like to address later today. leslie, let me repeat. the importance of affirmation technology cannot be understated as the va seeks to deliver on the care and benefits that our veterans deserve as a more
10:33pm
efficient and effective way, and i think the bottom line there is, there must, must, must be much better cooperation between the department of defense and the va. so let me conclude my remarks by thanking the secretary and his staff for being with us today. the issues that we are going over are of enormous importance to millions of veterans and the american people, and no accord to a very productive. >> good afternoon, mr. chairman. secretary, welcome to your team. welcome, mr. chairman. thank you for that very thorough page statement. as at the chairman indicated, we will be discussing the president's budget request with the department of veterans affairs in fiscal year 2014. as i have senate-passed budget hearings, it is important we provide adequate funding for the va so that all veterans receive the benefits and care that they earned and deserve. yet along with that funding we
10:34pm
must conduct a vigorous oversight to make sure programs which benefit veterans are working properly and lead to better outcomes for veterans, their families, and their survivors. yet in looking over the budget request, the lack of consistent predictions -- excuse me, a lack of transparency lead me to question the stewardship of taxpayer money leading to better outcomes. first, va has been consistently inconsistent with its workload projections. these changing projections mask whether they have the backlog situation under control and second, the and their accounting practices in the '90 budget make it difficult for us to conduct the necessary oversight into these programs. regarding claims processing, we all know that the backlog in delays has done worse of the last four years. even though the va has hired more staff, spent millions on
10:35pm
itunes solutions, and rolled out dozens of initiatives, today we will begin here the va assurance that despite these trends this situation will be completely under control by 2015. in my view, this budget provides one more reason to seriously question those assurances. for starters, the budget reflects that in 2013 and 2014 the va will receive over two and a half million claims and decide to a half million. but in the strategic plan for eliminating the backlog which was sent to congress less than three months ago, the va projected output of just under 3 million claims during those years. that means the va has already lowered productivity expectations by 12%. as for receipts, the backlog plan estimated that va would take in over to a half million fans this year and next year to mind, but va acknowledged it could receive as many as 774,000
10:36pm
additional claims as a result of recent loss. despite that caution, the budget shows that va will have even lower receipts in those years than the backlog planned for estimated. the budget also reflects that incoming claims will continue to exceed output during this year and next year, 13 and 14, which means that the number of pending claims will continue to grow. in fact, va now projects that it will have an inventory of roughly 960,000 claims at the end of 2014, about 100,000 more than are pending today. compare that with the va backlog plan which predicted that the decisions would outpace claims receipts next year and as a result the level of clemens would drop to less than 800,000. finally, the budget projection projects that no more than 40 percent of clams will be pending long enough this year
10:37pm
and in 2014 to be considered backlog. even though 70 percent of claims are currently backlogged. on the other hand, va strategic plan showed a backlog of 68% this year and 57% next year, just three months ago. even if the va has updated these estimates based upon more recent data, it is difficult to understand how all of these projections could change so dramatically in less than 12 weeks. these fluctuating predictions, together with a history of missed milestones in deteriorated performance make it extremely difficult to believe that va has the backlog situation under control. as i said earlier, another area for me is the ambiguity of the mit projects that are becoming the backbone of operations at va medical centers and regional offices. currently va has several miti
10:38pm
projects that are vital to providing benefits and services to our nation's veterans. in the president's request the office of information technology or 0i t requested roughly three and a half billion dollars, $360 million increase over last year. three areas of concern within the 90 budget, i believe that are worth highlighting. first, like he requested 252 million for the ipo for development activities of the iehr and that of the zero e.r. how much of this money will be spent on new strategy of quick winds verses the two initial operating capabilities of the two sides in 2014 is a question. according to the budget justification the 2014 allocation, development is roughly 33 million which would be a $71 million decrease from fyi of 12.
10:39pm
however, we are being told there is another hundred 55 million in this budget. the question, is this additional funding coming from the budget? finally, in my question from last year's budget hearing, asked about the cost of new patient scheduling systems. the response from va stated that they planned to have a new patient scheduling system -- planned to have a life cycle cost estimate completed by january 2013. as of today this life cycle cost analysis has yet to be submitted to my office. since the 2014 budget request has a $30 million adjunct -- allocation for the development of and is scheduling package, i wonder if the life cycle cost analysis has now been completed. this unclear nature of the '90 budget stands in the way of the congress's ability to conduct effective oversight in these
10:40pm
programs and make sure they are working properly and, more importantly, meeting their milestones. unfortunately these inconsistent projections and lack of transparency is becoming the standard operating procedure at va, which is even more troubling when it is our nation's veterans that stand to lose the most. mr. chairman, i think you and look forward to spending some time with our panel today. >> thank you very much. senator rockefeller. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i welcome the staff, as we'll do i just want to recount to my colleagues, i spent a very, very long time last week talking with the general about how one takes a 220,000 person agency and gets it to be responsive on all kinds of different issues, many of which have been mentioned today
10:41pm
and more of which i will mention the general actually has done a lot of work and management over the course of his life, training. and he described how he broke that 220,000 down into blocks and then blocks within blocks, all to be held accountable, all evaluating themselves, being evaluated. the reason i say this is because i really don't know of any job which has such a human buoyancy to it in its work. and yet has complexity at the level that the va as. i think you are a superb general of that va, but i just wanted to say that when we talk about claims and all the rest of the,
10:42pm
i think you are really working at, and i believe that. does that give veterans and of comfort and hope? everything in life is a process, and the process is either pushed from above or it is not. as you and i discussed, general, a number of years ago all the sudden the va medically went from and not really very good place to are really good place. and we both that the same time said can't kaiser who had been sitting out for years. i knew his position. i had no idea until we left, the effect that he had and which last today. i don't want johnny isaacson, dear friend, to be mad at me if i say something nice about the president but i am really
10:43pm
struck, mr. chairman, by the specificity and directness of the budget increases which the president would be entire rest of the world claiming every nickel that it does not have in his government will what he has done to make your mission more amenable. not in all fields and not with all problems come but he has given a vote of confidence and more important in that community spoke strongly to the veterans. i don't usually say things like that and hearings, but i just wanted to in this case. just over 10 percent, its huge. we throw those numbers around and san forget them. this will not be forgotten.
10:44pm
nevertheless, have also become very concerned about the persistent problems that have been addressed by the two speakers prior to me. the needs of rapidly growing veterans community for the backlog of veterans claims. i am not sure whether it's 600,000. a one. i heard 800,000. in one sense it doesn't make any difference. so many. yes, you are attacking that. you are bringing in in mental health, meant to have 1600. think you have over 1200 people all over the country, hospitals screaming and yelling because you're taking some of their best people. and well done. but the importance of that, as the chairman indicated, is so incredibly important. mental health care is so much and so recently, powerfully on
10:45pm
the minds of all this. i think americans in general, american families within families and even senators as policymakers are capable of seeing those kinds of things. there is no quick fix for health care, mental-health care, claims to anything else. there is the need for a persistent drive, driving the agenda with the secretary and his team coming to work every day determined, as you are, sir, to make a difference as best you can. i am disturbed by the fact that this very promising va joining with department of defense on itn other things, which was quite vibrant seven or eight years ago has now kind of been called off. a wanted to ask why and then what price we pay or what can be done.
10:46pm
i would just say to my friends on this committee that we are very, very lucky to serve your. i have been on here every year that i have ever been in the senate, which some may think is one or two, but actually is 28 years. it is a proud, proud service. you know, in west virginia we have so many veterans. everybody does. the work is powerful in its policy, powerful in its poignancy. i commend you for the work to be done. and still have questions i want to ask. >> thank you. >> thank you. senator. >> mr. chairman, thank you. thank you for calling this hearing on this budget request. mr. secretary, it's good to see you again. one of the things that i appreciate and i know other members of the board also, your
10:47pm
willingness to stop by our offices and talk to us about the issues that are of concern to us . afghanistan the complexities of putting together a budget that meets the priorities of the president of the estate's. i also understand the challenges . i will take up time this afternoon and go through them item by item. the first one as i know, for some time a number of us have been working on of the a -- va cemetery in the omaha area. i do want to thank you for including that in the fy14
10:48pm
budget request. about 112,000 veterans and their families who currently don't have a va cemetery within 75 miles. that will be positively impacted. i did not want the start of this hearing to go by without me saying how much i appreciate that. in addition, i also wanted to mention on a more concerning the committee issued a facilities. the budget efforts. one of the things that always tend to flip is the capitol improvements. it is just the reality of what we deal with. i think about the facility in
10:49pm
beaumont, but i don't want this to be just about that facility because i no there are problems all over the country where we are dealing with 1950's-era buildings. recently in the omaha va, they close to the operating suite for much-needed repairs. i am sure there are stories that could be told about that kind of thing all across the country. so as we go through the hearing this afternoon i would like to spend a little bit of time on facility needs around the country, how you think we are doing in addressing that because i do believe it is an important issue. again, i recognize it is an issue that i would suspect grows as the budget gets put together. with that i want to thank you for being here. look forward to your testimony. thank you, mr. chairman.
10:50pm
>> thank you, senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i wanted thank each and everyone of you for being here today. i had a chance to work with everyone of you pretty closely and appreciate that. special thanks to the secretary. thank you, general perry thank you for being here. thank you for the work that should do. you have been saddled with a tough job. you have are received some criticism. i think you have done a great job considering the conditions that you were faced with. and i appreciate your lead and i appreciate your service to the country very much. i will be the first to tell you, and you know this, don't agree with everything you have done. there is plenty to improve upon, but i think we have made great strides working with some incredibly complex issues. the cost of war, the man and learn coming back from afghanistan and the injuries
10:51pm
seen and unseen it's your have to deal with and your staff has to deal with and everybody on the ground has to deal with. i can tell you that i have been on this committee for six years and in the senate for six years and had numerous meetings and found one person that does not like va health care. the rest of them love it. and so i just want to say, thank you for your work. this is $1,502,000,000,000 for the budget. i fair chunk of change that invest significantly in our veterans demand and need to make sure that we spend it as effectively as possible. that is our job and your job. we need tough proceed anywhere that honors our military folks service. the one that makes most sense for the taxpayers also as we go forward. this is an important discussion whether we are talking mental help the local partnerships or veteran senators are cemeteries, homelessness, education, their plenty of issues to talk about.
10:52pm
and how we make this budget work for our veterans is going to be critically important. i wanted thank you for being here and look for to discussion today. >> thank you very much, senator. >> thank you, mr. chairman. so as not to disappoint the distinguished senator from west virginia, not only do i knowledge of the president's budget is a 10% increase, but its $7 billion more than the senate approved months ago. so he has talked us as well as what needs to be done. and also point out the fact that unlike a lot of appropriations units that we do, whether it is the part of energy, labor, we're talking about mandatory spending when you talk about veterans. on one of our soldiers' guns back from serving overseas we have a commitment to them that will drive how much we spend and we should never shortchange those benefits were looked at it as an efficiency. instead we have to do is make sure that the department is run as efficiently as possible. so i commend the president and the senate and most of all the soldiers is sacrificed and
10:53pm
fought for ross overseas. i would point, for my interest, really two things. suicide and benefit of clemens backlog. those two things are a terrible protracted problems that i know you face. i acknowledge the general. but those are the two priorities that we have got to focus on a free are ever going to get that va responding, as it should respond, to those to come back from overseas and serving this country. with that said, i yield back the balance of my time. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. chairman. likewise, i don't have a lengthy statement. it's good to have you here and we appreciate you and your service. not only to the va, but in so many ways dry your career and the team that you have assembled, try to help us get this done. i think, you know, as you hear the mood of the comments so far, i do know that you know, i think it is important to the public understands that this is not a
10:54pm
partisan issue. this is something that i think both sides are very much committed to helping you in the senate and then also spending a lot of time in the house with congressman. i know that they also are totally dedicated to trying to see if we can figure out how we solve some of these very, very difficult problems, as senator isaacson said, to the suicide issue, the benefits, but also just the on going, you know, as was said by our senator from western virginia, we can be very proud of the va system that we have. we are doing a lot of things really, really right. we have to va hospitals in arkansas and are excellent. that has taken a lot of hard work, you know, to get in that situation. again, we appreciate the efforts there. i think, you know, we have to address these other things, but we do have some things that we can celebrate. thank you.
10:55pm
>> thank you very much. >> mr. chairman, i really don't have an opening statement. thank you for doing hearing. thank you, secretary, for all the work that you have done. i know all the veterans that are moving forward in their relationship with the travel communities up there and delivery of health care which we really appreciate the efforts of and up to sea as it moves forward, good progress. second, now you put resources in this budget. we will be anxious to hear about disability claims and how we move this forward. now we have a hearing. reestablished that. we appreciate that. but a lot of efforts. make sure we move that forward. and of that is one of your priorities. last is the effort that you are all doing regarding homeless veterans. now this is one of your top priorities. in alaska, as you can imagine, homeless veteran issues are even more severe because of climatic conditions and other things we
10:56pm
have to deal with. thank you for being here. i look forward to your budget and they're anxious to hear your testimony. thank you, mr. chairman. >> it is now my pleasure to welcome the va secretary. thank you, general, for joining us today to get your perspective on the president's fiscal year 2014 effort and fiscal year 2015 advanced appropriations request for the department of veterans affairs. we look for during adjust money. secretary is accompanied by steve merrill, undersecretary for memorial affairs. undersecretary for benefits and undersecretary for health. we also have executive in charge for the office of management and chief financial officer. and stephan morgan acting assistant secretary of information and technology. are prepared remarks could be submitted for the record, secretary? please thank you for being with us today. >> chairman sanders, ranking
10:57pm
member, distinguished members of the committee, thank you for this opportunity to present the president's 2014 budget and 2015 advanced appropriations requests for va. we deeply value your partnership in support in providing the resources needed to assure the quality of care and services for veterans. let me also join you, mr. chairman, in the knowledge and other partners year-to-date, veteran service organizations whose insides and supports make as much better and our mission of caring for veterans, their families, and are survivors. mr. chairman, thank you for accepting my written statement for the record. the 2014 budget in 2015 advanced appropriations request demonstrate the president's steadfast commitment to our nation's veterans, and i think the members for your resolute commitment as well to veterans and seek your support on these requests. the latest generation of veterans is enrolling at va at a
10:58pm
higher rate than previous generations. for 62 percent of those who deployed in support of operations in afghanistan have used at least one va benefit or service. va requirements are expected to continue growing for years to come. our plans and resources must be robust enough to care for the mall. the president's 2014 budget for va, as the chairman of wind, $1,502,000,000,000, 66 and a half billion dollars in discretionary funding and $86 billion in mandatory funding , an increase of over two and a half billion dollars in discretionary funding, over 4% above the 2013 level. this is a strong budget which enables us to continue building momentum for delivering three long-term goals we set for ourselves roughly four years ago increase veterans access to a va
10:59pm
benefits and services, eliminate the disability claims backlog in 2015, and in the veterans homelessness in 2015. these were bold and ambitious goals then. they remain bold and ambitious today because veterans deserve a va that advocates for them and then finds a way to put resources against its words, against those promises. access. of the roughly 22 million living veterans in the country today to more than 11 million now receive at least one benefit or service from va, an increase of over a million veterans in the last four years. we have achieved this by opening new facilities, renovating others, increasing investments in health and medicine, sending mobile clinics and vet centers to remote areas to where veterans live and using every means available, including the social media to connect more veterans to va, increasing